Push For Peace

In March of this year Austin was terrorized by a man leaving bombs around town.  His first bombs were attacking communities of color.  The first to go off was March 2nd, killing Anthony Stephan House.  The next two were on the Austin East Side on March 12th in two separate incidents, the first killing Draylen Mason and injuring his mother.  The second seriously injuring 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera.  

The community rallied together that week to get answers and briefed from the Austin city manager, the mayor and the interim Police chief and to give input and talk about how we can better protect our communities.  A community forum was put together by Austin Justice Coalition and the next day Counter Balance ATX had a Push for Peace walk, opening with prayer and words of unity followed by a walk through the neighborhood of the second victims' home.  

Below are images from that walk.  

Quince at the Capitol

Brave young women speaking out against SB4.

Cristina Tzintzun and I conceived of the idea on the East side over lunch while prepping for a town hall.  She, along with her amazing team and volunteers with Jolt Texas , took the idea and made it into a national conversation covered by a number of news outlets.  I showed up to photograph the event and help accompany a group of the young girls after their performance and speeches in front of the Capitol to different offices of Legislators offering them a tissue flower for their opposition to the racist law or a copy of an excerpt of The New Colossus poem that is displayed on the Statue of Liberty.  

 

From the ACLU website:  SB4 is a Texas law that forces local governments and law enforcement agencies to do the work of federal immigration officers. It punishes local officials who choose to prioritize their communities’ safety over the anti-immigrant agenda of politicians, diverts precious local resources away from communities to serve the needs of the federal government, corrodes public trust in law enforcement, and drives victims and witnesses of crime into the shadows, making everyone less safe. Sheriffs and police chiefs across the state strongly advised the legislature not to pass this awful law. Governor Abbott signed SB4 on May 7, 2017.

You can see some of my photos on display at the Mexic-Arte Museum exhibit Fotografia y Nuevo Medios, running through end of May 2018.  They will then be added to the permanent collection.  

Sandra Bland Remembrance March

Sandra Bland was pulled over for a traffic violation in 2015.  When I heard the details of her arrest and death something inside of me stirred.  Watching the footage and listening to the audio was heart wrenching.  I didn't know it then, but it would be the beginning of my journey into the world of activism.  Because black people were dying and nobody seemed to mind.  Below are a few images from the Counter Balance ATX march in remembrance of Sandra Bland.  If you are interested in working with non-profits, I recommend looking into Counter Balance by clicking here.  

 Counter Balance ATX Co-founder Kristina Brown

Counter Balance ATX Co-founder Kristina Brown

Prep Day

Brave young women getting briefed on how the day will go for their protest on SB4 at the Texas State Capitol.  It was a colorful idea Cristina Tzintzun of Jolt and I came up with over lunch one afternoon.  She ran with it and with help of many dedicated volunteers made it happen.  I was in awe of what her team had put together.